Cabbage has been in our CSA a few times this summer, but I have a sad confession to make... I have yet to use it. I've actually let it go bad twice already. :-( I try to use up all of our CSA goodies, coming up with new recipes, scouring blogs and cookbooks for new ideas, even freezing or preserving fruits when we've had more cakes and tarts than any diet can allow. But somehow the cabbage has slipped through the cracks. Probably because I kept thinking of coleslaw which is not very exciting, and A. hates mayo!
Well, that won't happen again, I found this yummy recipe for a Vietnamese chicken and cabbage salad. So, last night I stopped by the store, bought a bottle of fish sauce, made a couple of changes (like using cilantro instead of mint), and decided to give it a try. Glad I did... it was delicious! The cabbage is perfectly crispy, and the freshness is a great balance with the spicy (yes, a little spicy!) chile dressing.
VIETNAMESE CHICKEN & CABBAGE SALAD (adapted from Nigella Lawson)
1 Thai Chile (or 1/3 habanero chile)
1 garlic clove
1 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp vinegar
1 1/2 tbsp lime juice
1 1/2 tbsp thai fish sauce (nuoc nam)
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 medium white onion, grated
Salt to taste
1 1/2 cups chopped cabbage
1 large carrot, chopped
2 large chicken breast (marinated with the juice of 1/2 a lime, 2 tbsp of soy sauce, 1 tsp of honey, and pepper)
a bunch of cilantro, roughly chopped
In a small bowl, combine the chiles, sugar, garlic, vinegar, lime juice, fish sauce, olive oil, and onions. Add a dash of salt. Whisk until mixed, and place in the fridge.
Grill or sautee the chicken breast. Remove from pan and allow to cool then slice.
Combine the cabbage , carrots and chicken in a large bowl. Toss with the dressing, and sprinkle the cilantro on top.
PS: Be careful when chopping the chilles! The spice will stay on your fingers, so stay clear of your eyes (which I didn't do ...ouch! double ouch!), and wash your hands. :-)